The IBM Supplies Division

Cards and Tapes

Some IBM divisions had the glamor jobs. The Data Processing Division was the company’s principal marketing organization for decades, sellers of the popular IBM 1400, System/360 and System/370 computer families. The Federal Systems Division made significant contributions to the exploration of space, including the historic manned missions to the Moon. And the Research Division was (and is) a world leader in science and technology, winning Nobel Prizes in two consecutive years.

But other IBM divisions -- less prominent and certainly less celebrated -- were just as important both to IBM’s growth and our customers’ successful embrace and exploitation of newly emerging data processing tools and techniques. Fifty years ago, one of those units began life as the IBM Electric Accounting Machine Supplies Division. It had the decidedly prosaic responsibility to manufacture and market miscellaneous data processing materials, such as punched cards and magnetic tapes, used with the company’s electric accounting machines and newer electronic computers. For ten years, from 1956 until 1966 (when its name was changed), the IBM Supplies Division was at the heart of the booming data processing business because those admittedly pedestrian offerings in its product portfolio actually received, stored and provided the billions of bits of information and data generated by IBM’s tabulating machines and computers in the middle of the 20th century.

So now step back to the era of Elvis, the cha-cha and the New Frontier for a reunion with the Supplies Division -- and its IBM Port-A-Punch, Micro-Processing System and Votomatic -- by visiting the: